Attorney General of Hawaii
|Hawaii Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013-2014 FY Budget:||$73,140,520|
|Length of term:||4 years coterminous with the governor|
|Authority:||Hawaii Revised Statutes, 26-7|
|Selection Method:||Appointed by the governor|
|Assumed office:||December 1, 2014|
|Other Hawaii Executive Offices|
|Governor•Lieutenant Governor•Attorney General•Director of Finance•Auditor•Superintendent of Education•Agriculture Commissioner•Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs•Chairperson of Land and Natural Resources•Director of Labor and Industrial Relations•Public Utilities Commission|
The current attorney general is Russell Suzuki, who is serving on an interim basis under Gov. David Ige (D). Suzuki succeeded David M. Louie (D), who was not reappointed when his term expired on December 1, 2014.
In many states, the office of attorney general is created by the state constitution. Unusually, the Hawaii attorney general is established by statute.
Hawaii Revised Statutes, 26-7
The department of the attorney general shall be headed by a single executive to be known as the attorney general.
Like all state "principal department" heads, the attorney general must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Hawaii for at least a year before his appointment.
Every officer appointed under the provisions of this section shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have been a resident of this State for at least one year immediately preceding that person's appointment, except that this residency requirement shall not apply to the president of the University of Hawaii.
As the head of a principal executive department, the attorney general is appointed by the governor with the consent of the Hawaii Senate. The appointee holds office for a term concurrent with that of the governor, who may also remove him from office at any time. The attorney general is unique among Hawaii's department heads in that his removal by the governor also requires the consent of the Senate.
Each principal department shall be under the supervision of the governor and, unless otherwise provided in this constitution or by law, shall be headed by a single executive. Such single executive shall be nominated and, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appointed by the governor. That person shall hold office for a term to expire at the end of the term for which the governor was elected, unless sooner removed by the governor; except that the removal of the chief legal officer of the State shall be subject to the advice and consent of the senate.
There are no term limits associated with the office of attorney general.
If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement with the consent of the state Senate. If the Senate is out of session when the vacancy occurs, the governor may appoint a temporary replacement to exercise the powers of attorney general until the legislature reconvenes.
The attorney general is responsible for:
- Representing the state in civil and criminal cases in which it is a party
- Investigating violations of state laws
- Preparing official legal opinions for the governor, the state legislature, and other state agencies
- Advising state officials on legal matters
- Defending state employees in matters related to their official duties
- Civil Recoveries
- Civil Rights Litigation
- Commerce and Economic Development
- Criminal Justice
- Employment Law
- Family Law
- Health and Human Services
- Public Safety, Hawaiian Home Lands, and Housing
- Tort Litigation
- Child Support Enforcement
- Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance
- Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center
- Office of Child Support Hearings
- See also: Hawaii state budget and finances
The Office of Lieutenant Governor's budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 was $73,140,520.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
The salaries of elected and appointed executives in Hawaii are determined by the Hawaii Commission on Salaries, which was established by constitutional amendment in 2006. Passage of this amendment by the public added the following language to Article XVI of the state constitution:
| Text of Section 3.5:
There shall be a commission on salaries as provided by law, which shall review and recommend salaries for the justices and judges of all state courts, members of the legislature, department heads or executive officers of the executive departments and the deputies or assistants to department heads of the executive departments as provided by law, excluding the University of Hawaii and the department of education. The commission shall also review and make recommendations for the salary of the administrative director of the State or equivalent position and the salary of the governor and the lieutenant governor.
Any salary established pursuant to this section shall not be decreased during a term of office, unless by general law applying to all salaried officers of the State.
Not later than the fortieth legislative day of the 2007 regular legislative session and every six years thereafter, the commission shall submit to the legislature its recommendations and then dissolve.
The recommended salaries submitted shall become effective as provided in the recommendation, unless the legislature disapproves the entire recommendation as a whole by adoption of a concurrent resolution prior to adjournment sine die of the legislative session in which the recommendation is submitted; provided that any change in salary which becomes effective shall not apply to the legislature to which the recommendation for the change in salary was submitted.
The commission consists of seven members selected by the governor (two seats), the President of the Hawaii State Senate (two seats), Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives (two seats) and the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court (one seat). Commissioners meet every six years to evaluate salaries for executive, judicial and legislative officials. Their recommendations go into effect unless the Hawaii State Legislature votes to reject the entirety of the commission's final report. The commission last met in November 2012 and made recommendations for official salaries between 2013 and 2018.
In 2010, the attorney general received a salary of $114,420.
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Department of the Attorney General
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Telephone: (808) 586-1500
Fax: (808) 586-1239
- Honolulu Civil Beat, "Louie Out, Hawaii To Get New Attorney General," December 1, 2014
- Hawaii Revised Statutes, "26-7," accessed September 19, 2011
- Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, "Roles and Responsibilities," accessed September 19, 2011
- Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, "Divisions," accessed September 19, 2011
- Hawaii State Legislature, "H.B. No. 200 Fiscal Biennium 2013-2015," accesseed June 28, 2013
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- Commission on Salaries, "Report and Recommendations to the 2013 Legislature," March 18, 2013
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed November 14, 2014
- The Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2013, Table 4.11," accessed February 2, 2014